'Why I became a member of the Youth Parliament' - by the new representative for East Devon

East Devon Youth Parliament representative Emiko L'Estrange

East Devon Youth Parliament representative Emiko L'Estrange - Credit: Emiko L'Estrange

I initially applied to be a candidate for the Youth Parliament elections as I had been involved in representative roles at my school, The King’s School, as a member of School Parliament (the link between the student body and Trustees) and as Head Prefect. As a member of School Parliament, I found It really fulfilling to be a voice for my peers, working to make the school a comfortable environment. I am also able to give back to my school community as Head Prefect by visiting tutor groups of younger years and contributing in assemblies and open evenings. 

 I see my role as The Member of Youth Parliament for Mid and East Devon as an extension of these roles by representing a larger constituency and having the opportunity to make a greater impact. Youth Parliament mirrors Parliament in that I will be representing my consituency to facilitate national change influenced by local concerns. 

To be elected I wrote a manifesto which outlined who I am and what I hope to do and contacted many registered groups with members aged 11-18 about becoming polling stations for the elections. 

My intention is to build a local network, but over the next two years that I will be in office I hope to be involved in projects and campaigns through my constituency. I am a firm believer that national change starts locally. I have also recently applied to be a member of the European Youth Parliament which runs across 40 countries in Europe which would give me a more International platform going forwards. I am currently working with a State Government Youth Advisory Council Member in Queensland, Australia on a parallel trans-global project on planting respective native flora. 

My main objectives are rewilding to increase insect diversity which has a positive multiplier effect on the local ecosystem, and raising awareness of the impacts of the pandemic on young people including missing out on opportunities and mental health. 

 My short-term goals are securing a good set of GCSEs and progressing onto my A-levels (I am currently 16 in year 11). Next year I will be taking Politics, Geography and RPE with aspirations of studying Human Sciences at University. I hope to travel and work in the NGO sector but it is still early days.